Door Construction: Which one is right for your home?


When you purchase a new door for your property it’s a good idea to know just how it has been built so that you can choose the best possible option for your home. In this article you’ll find information on the benefits of each type of door construction which we hope will help you make your choice.

There are four main construction methods you'll see mentioned on our site:

  1. Dowelled construction
  2. Mortice & Tenon construction (M&T)
  3. Engineered construction
  4. Solid Core construction

This guide is aimed at helping you to understand each of these terms, so you can make a more informed decision about which door is right for your home.

We'll take a look at how each method works and what significant advantages each kind of door could provide. For instance - if you want a particularly weather resistant door then you might want to go for one option, whereas others may be better if you want a more detailed door or one with a very specific weight and thickness.

What is dowelled construction?

A dowel is a small circular rod which is used to affix two structures together. In dowelled construction the various components of a door are all built separately then fitted together using dowels or pins.

The bottom, top and middle rails along with the panels and the stiles are held together by a hydraulic press, while the glue on the dowels dries.

Fluted dowels are often used, so that the glue can seep down into tiny grooves in the dowel, making the fit even tighter.

Many internal doors are built using a dowelled construction process and some external doors are also built via this method.

Kiln dried lumber is considered the perfect material for dowelled doors as it goes through a drying process to stop any swelling or shrinking occurring when it use. This keeps the dowels tightly in place and the integrity of the door strong.

There is a real security benefit to dowelled construction, as the dowels make the timber slab very difficult to break down due to a lack of vulnerable points. One of the other big advantages of this method is that it allows for more detailing and decoration, as the door can be made more complex than if it was just built from a single solid core.


  • Strength and Security
  • Added detail to the décor of the door

What is Mortice and Tenon (M&T) construction?

In Mortice and Tenon construction a peg on one piece of timber is inserted into a mortice hole in another section. These are then wedged together to create a solid joint, which does not require dowels as above.

Mortice and Tenon doors are particularly weather resistant, as the door panels are set it waterproof mastic. This makes them perfect for an external door which is likely to be subject to a battering from the wind and rain, so you'll notice that many of our hardiest external doors are made using this construction method.


  • Weather resistant
  • Durable
  • Excellent for external doors

What is an engineered construction and solid core construction doors?

The majority of external and internal doors on our site are engineered. Such doors can have a particleboard or timber core, with a face of pine, hardwood, oak or walnut as a veneer.

This is much better for the environment as it represents a more efficient use of raw materials, which is great news if you're worried about keeping your home as green as possible. The use of a veneer on top of a core means you can get an attractive looking door but at a very competitive and cost effective price, another big advantage.

A solid core isn't the only option; you can also go for a hollow core or a semi-solid core. The more hollow the core of the door the more cost effective the door will be as a general rule.

A major advantage of engineered doors is that they do not warp or twist as a solid wooden door might over time; the jointing methods used prevent the timber from moving inside the door. One disadvantage is that more hollow cores are less effective at preventing heat passing through them, so if this is a concern then you will need to pick either a door with a solid core, or a full wooden door.


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Cost effective
  • No warping or twisting

My door has arrived with extended stiles - why?

Some doors we have on site will arrive with extended stiles (or horns as they are sometimes known) protruding from them.

Hemlock and Redwood doors come with these extended stiles, which you may be worried have been left over from the construction process.

However this is actually done intentionally as it offers the door some extra protection during its journey to your home.

Removing extended stiles is a relatively simple process and is fully explained in the literature included with your new door - if you have any problems then please contact our expert team - 0114 2557800 - we'll be happy to hear from you.

Hopefully this guide has given you a bit more of an idea of how the doors you're browsing on site are built. We hope you agree that it is an interesting process, from the ingenuity of dowelled construction to the logic behind picking an engineered construction door.

If you have any further questions, or you come across something we haven't explained here, then please do give us a call on the number above.